The Green Bioplaneet Dictonary: Aloe Vera
Juice or extract
You have probably heard of aloe vera as a soothing ingredient for redness and pain from sunburn. But the juice or extract from the thick leaves can do more for you, for both your skin and hair. Aloe vera is a cactus plant belonging to the Liliaceae family. The clear, sticky gel derived from the leaves has been applied for centuries to heal wounds and calm the skin. Aloe vera works as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish moisture. The gel is composed of about 96% water but is certainly not 'watery': it contains various amino acids, beta-carotene and vitamins A, B, C and E. In addition, aloe vera contains glucomannan, which helps with healing wounds and sunburn by improving the collagen production. Moreover, it has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect that is often used against acne.
Aloe vera is easily absorbed by the skin and helps to retain moisture. Because it contains antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C and E, it supports the skin's natural firmness. That's why you'll also find it in John Masters Organics' Intensive Daily Serum with Vitamin C & Kakadu Plum. You can also use aloe vera as a natural spot remover: it blocks an enzyme called tyrosinase that causes pigmentation spots. Baebody's Retinol Moisturizer contains both retinol (vitamin A) and aloe vera. The cream not only targets fine lines and wrinkles, it also makes pigmentation spots less visible. By the way, aloe vera on its own is also a great anti-wrinkle ingredient. It works on two fronts: it improves the collagen production and strengthens skin cells to better withstand damage. That's why you'll find it in Suki's Pro-AgeCycle Nourishing Day Cream. And did you know that aloe vera can help fight against pimples? It's a natural source of salicylic acid, which helps to keep pores clean by dissolving blockages. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight acne-causing bacteria. That's why LUÉ by Jean Seo's Clear Spot Control and Suki's ClearCycle Purifying & Balancing Lotion both contain aloe vera. Of course, aloe vera is best known as a soothing ingredient. Whether you've been sunburned or need something for your sensitive skin, aloe vera cools and soothes. It can moisturize the skin without adding oil, so it won't clog pores. That's why you'll also find it in Made by Coopers' Manuka Aloe Soothing Face Mist and John Masters Organics' Toning Mist with Rose & Aloe.
For more beautiful hair
Aloe vera also offers benefits for your hair and scalp. Keratin, the protein that makes up hair, is composed of amino acids, oxygen, carbon and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur. Aloe vera has a similar chemical composition to keratin and makes hair more elastic, preventing hair breakage. Its calming effect helps to alleviate itchiness, dandruff and irritation, making it an ideal ingredient for those with a sensitive scalp. It also has a positive effect on the hair itself by retaining moisture so that the hair cuticles remain 'in shape'. Innersense Organic Beauty adds it to their conditioners, like the Hydrating Cream Conditioner and the new Bright Balance Conditioner.
Styling for strong and shiny hair
Because aloe vera smoothens the hair cuticles, your hair will shine beautifully and look healthier immediately. The juice hydrates, protects and strengthens your hair, which is why it's no surprise that it's also added to styling products. Examples include I Create Hold by Innersense Organic Beauty and the Hair Spray by John Masters Organics. And if you want more volume or give your lifeless curls more bounce, aloe vera can also help. The I Create Lift Volumizing Foam from Innersense Organic Beauty gives both fine, limp hair and lifeless curls a long-lasting lift, as does the I Create Waves from Innersense Organic Beauty.